Site C review should focus on future price tag, not sunk costs: expert

By The Canadian Press
August 29, 2017 - 2:26pm

VANCOUVER — The former head of Newfoundland and Labrador’s public utility board is warning British Columbia’s utilities commission not to be distracted by sunk costs or potential jobs as it reviews whether the Site C hydroelectric project should go ahead.

David Vardy has sent a list of 16 recommendations to B.C.’s rates regulator based on lessons learned through what he describes as the disastrous experience of Muskrat Falls, a multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam being built in Labrador.

The cost of the project has more than doubled to $12.7 billion compared with original estimates, and Vardy says its per capita debt of about $24,000 is a major threat to the province’s solvency.

Vardy recommends B.C.’s regulatory agency focus on the future cost of Site C, an $8.8-billion project on the Peace River.

B.C.’s new NDP government asked the utilities commission earlier this month to review Site C and determine whether it’s economically viable.

The practice was commonplace before the previous Liberal government’s clean-energy laws permitted some proposals to circumvent the regulatory process.

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